Feeds

Microsoft preps fix for IE 8 flaw that makes safe sites unsafe

Third time's the charm

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft will release an update intended to rid Internet Explorer 8 of a vulnerability that can enable serious security attacks against websites that are otherwise safe.

The change, which will be introduced in June, will be the third time in six months that Microsoft has tweaked a feature used to filter out XSS, or cross-site scripting filter, attacks against websites. The filter, which Microsoft introduced with the release of IE 8, is designed to strip out malicious commands that exploit the vulnerabilities, which plague many websites.

As The Register reported in November, the new XSS filter could be exploited to introduce XSS attacks on sites that otherwise weren't vulnerable. Microsoft has twice made changes to the feature, once in January and again in March, but last week, researchers at the Black Hat Security Conference in Barcelona showed the filter still injected threats into sites that included Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and even Microsoft's own Bing.

"This issue manifests when malicious script can 'break out' from within a construct that is already within an existing script block," David Ross, of Microsoft Security Response Center, said here. "While the issue identified and addressed in MS10-002 was identified to exist on high-profile websites, thus far real-world examples of the SCRIPT tag neutering attack scenario have been hard to come by."

XSS exploits allow attackers to inject malicious code or content into trusted websites by convincing victims to click on booby-trapped links. Because the links contain the well-known domain names, they rarely arouse suspicion, as was the case recently when admins from the Apache Foundation visited tainted links that exposed their login credentials and led to a serious security lapse.

Features like Microsoft's XSS filter, or a similar protection offered in the NoScript add-on for Mozilla Firefox, are designed to prevent such attacks. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?